Echophone


Echophone

Installation consisting of four parts (2017)

Commissioned by the mighty Radius for the Museum of Arts and Design, for the exhibition Sonic Arcade: Shaping Space with Sound
September 14, 2017 – February 25, 2018
2 Columbus Circle, New York, NY, 10019

Echophone is the first of a new Radius series entitled BEACON. BEACON invites commissioned artists to investigate the idea of radio as a signal from afar.

Two women rent a room in the Pabst Grand Circle Hotel in New York City in late 1947. Their belongings seem to be comprised entirely of a large number of aluminum postal boxes of the sort used to mail laundry; three bellhops are needed to transport it all up to their room. The women stay for one week, pay in advance, and are not seen during their stay. Over several nights the neighboring rooms complain of strange hums and sounds heard through the walls, disturbing their sleep. Three hotel guests complain of the sudden onset of severe migraine headaches, and request a doctor. The dumbwaiter in the hotel breaks down and is stuck between two floors.

After one week, the hotel staff find the room unlocked and empty. The women are gone, as are their boxes, and the maids discover wires and electronic components on the table and the floor of the room. The dumbwaiter is never repaired.

Four aluminum boxes re-appear at MAD this year. Careful inspection reveals that they are radiophonic, each transmitting a single signal to either AM or FM bands. Perhaps they were sent out as probes, recording what they encounter, and then transmitting their findings. The probes have returned as beacons, measuring distance and indicating time passed or times parallel. Four presents from the past.

Responding to the idea that radio measures and allows for relationships over distance and time, Echophone is a radio based installation that reveals itself to visitors as they explore the Museum of Arts and Design, searching for and tuning into transmissions from beacons which are placed throughout its interior. Radios and headphones can be checked out from the admissions desk to experience this piece. Each individual beacon can only be heard in close proximity to its physical location, and are tuned variably to 107.9FM, 1600AM, or 1620AM.

The installation consists of four beacons and two vintage radios with headsets.

Custom electronics for the project by Ryan Page.

Echophone was developed with support from the Canada Council for the Arts, and the Arts Research Institute of the University of California, Santa Cruz.



Endless Love: All Transistor Model


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Endless Love: All Transistor Model
is a 12-hour durational performance/sound installation conceived by Karine Denault, Anna Friz, and Dana Gingras. We had a red-lit love-soaked premiere of the work overnight on June 20-21, 2015 from 20:30-8:30, at Stable, Montréal, during the 24-hour art event Endless Love. Two dancers, 30 transistor radios, 3 frequencies, 4 auxiliary audio channels and a giant disco ball, for that immersive full-body love effect.

The performers (Karine Denault and Dana Gingras) move through an installation of mid-century AM/FM transistor radio receivers set upon the floor, with four open cone speakers attached to radiators on the surrounding walls. They tune, re-tune, and de-tune across the nighttime landscape and the radio dial, searching for songs of love. They slow dance together, and with others in the audience; they sleep in the radio city troubled by fitful dreams and nightmares; they seek resuscitation and connection through minimal gestures and concrete interaction with the radios and each other. Time lurches unevenly through the night. The heart in crisis requires action, even if union is temporary, fragile, or only glimpsed but never realized.

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The radio landscape is responsive to the bodies of performers and visitors alike: several micro-watt FM transmitters narrowcast a drunken, time-stretched version of a love ballad, as well as static, textures, heterodyne hums and signals, creating a physical soundscape that is constantly acted on and disrupted by the slipping frequencies and electrical interference between devices and the dancers’ moving bodies. Bodies serve as antennas, and receivers become transmitters.

Sound artist and designer Anna Friz further engages the radiophonic field, by changing the scenography of radios and lights periodically from one sculptural ‘set’ to another, as well as modulating and manipulating the incoming and outgoing signals, with a focus on feedback and making the circumstances of transmission audible. In this way the radios act as the sound system, as the moveable scenography, and as collaborating performers, as the devices themselves produce unexpected sounds.

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the all transistor model



Trilogy for Night and Radio


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This week is the premiere of the first part of The Remote Series, produced by Skálar FM and commissioned by the Creative Audio Unit of ABC Radio National, Australia for their weekly radio art program Soundproof.
Listen on air, online or download the series prologue Trilogy for Night and Radio: Radiotelegraph/Night Fall/Relay, a three-part sound work by Anna Friz and Konrad Korabiewski.

Autumn in the far north is characterized by a dramatic loss of daylight. In Seyðisfjörður, a small village on the far eastern edge of Iceland just below the Arctic Circle, each day in October has eight minutes less daylight than the one before. The sun is slower each day to crest the mountains which ring the fjord, until mid-November when it no longer rises above the mountains, and the town experiences only indirect light until February.

Trilogy for Night and Radio is a radio art work in three parts that explores remoteness, the descent into darkness and the long Northern winter night. Trilogy is a collaborative exchange between two traveling sound artists – Anna Friz and Konrad Korabiewski – that meditates on feelings of place using the materiality of signals, overlapping remote geographical spaces. As part of the work, we recorded, performed, re-recorded, and composed with sounds and signals from Iceland and Slovenia, with a relay broadcast to Chicago.

Radiotelegraph, is a beacon in spoken morse code, designed by Anna for unlicensed radio simulcast in Seysdisfjördur, Iceland, and in Chicago, U.S.A on the Radius platform in October 2013. Incorporating performed morse code, electronics, and sampled radio signals, Radiotelegraph reflects Seyðisfjörður’s remote location in a deep fjord off the Atlantic Ocean, which was also the site of the first telegraph cable connection between Iceland and Europe in 1906.

Night Fall is an improvised live performance by Anna and Konrad for unlicensed low-watt transmission in Seyðisfjörður to accompany the shift from sundown into full night time darkness. Night Fall elaborates on the sonic palate created in part one, with a soundscape that contemplates the acoustic and electro-magnetic landscape of Seyðisfjörður in the disappearing light of dusk and the feeling of suspended or expanded time that strongly characterizes this village in east Iceland. The performance was recorded live from a small transistor radio receiver, and edited.

The final segment, Relay, is built from recordings made by Anna and Konrad around the winter solstice (December 21-22) in the empty post-industrial spaces in which they were working–Anna in a former tobacco factory in Ljubljana, Slovenia; Konrad in an empty herring factory in Seydisfjördur. They intertwined these traces and signals from distant spaces, using the architecture and landscape as a filter for their signals. Anna took elements from Radiotelegraph and replayed them into the iron bannisters and wooden walls of the tobacco factory using tactile transducers, or speakers which transmit vibrations into surfaces. These signals were re-recorded using contact microphones, and sent to Konrad, who mixed them together with field recordings from different houses and the empty herring factory.

Trilogy for Night and Radio is the prologue to the four part Remote Series, which will air on Soundproof in early 2015 and will feature artists Tumi Magnússon (Iceland), Fernando Godoy M (Chile), Jana Winderen (Norway) and Christina Kubisch (Germany).

Trilogy for Night and Radio was produced for the Creative Audio Unit with additional support from the Danish Arts Foundation, the Danish Composer’s Society, radioCONA, Kultural Center Tobačna 001, Skaftfell Center for Visual Arts, and Radius.

 



Radiotelegraph continues to travel


Friz_morse_mountainBack in October 2013, while on residency at Skaftfell Center for Visual Art in Seydisfjördur, Iceland, I crafted a 16:00 minute radio beacon to broadcast on my private transmitter every evening at sundown for a week. Radiotelegraph featured my first formal attempts at performing vocal morse code, laid over a bed of signals and oscillations. It was simulcast on the mighty Radius in Chicago, U.S. as episode 44 in their esteemed catalogue of transmission experiments.

In the last month, Radiotelegraph has made its way around the world in various ways:

-featured on Radius’ Sketchpad series on WGXC New York and the Wavefarm’s Transmission Arts archive, May 23, 2014

-featured in the latest curated playlist of Radius’ PATCH series on WFMU New Jersey and the Free Music Archive (FMA), posted June 1, 2014. This series includes three Radius episodes that reflect on the concept of distance.

-featured as part of radio trickster Gregory Whitehead‘s edition of Radio Yak, heard on the brand new Soundproof program, Radio National of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, aired May 25, 2014.

And finally… tomorrow I’m on my way to give a paper at the Radio As Art conference at the Weserburg Museum Studienzentrum in Bremen, Germany, taking place from 5-8. June 2014. I’ll be talking about “The Wireless Experience of Distance”. The whole conference will be streamed by Mobile Radio here, including some really nice curated overnight programming from the Radia network and ORF Kunstradio.



Telefunken Twins


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This week and next, Konrad Korabiewski and I are taking the twins out for a spin….

Two performance works for multi-channel radio, featuring two vintage Telefunken Bajazzo radio/cassette decks, multiple micro-FM transmitters, and a chorus of supporting radio receivers. We employ lo-fi instruments, spectral monitoring, and intricate feedback systems to craft an expressive and intimate world from the sensuality of signal and noise.

By working with small-scale circuits of transmission in performance, we seek to transform radio away from its everyday role as an apparatus of entertainment or information diffusion; instead proposing radio as instrument, as landscape, and as a poetic space of reverie.

Friday May 23, 2014  Gallery Liebig 12, Liebigstrasse 12, 10247 Berlin DE  20:00 sharp

Friday May 30, 2014  Nomadentappe/Memphis, Untere Donaulände 12, Linz AT  20:00

The concert in Linz will also include an artist talk.

Part of the ongoing activities of Skálar Center for Sound Art and Experimental Music which acts as both an artist collective and a curatorial platform, and produces a nomadic festival and international exchanges.



This week in Copenhagen….


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A train and a ferry ride away from Berlin, and I find myself in Copenhagen, Danmark this week for a series of events, thanks to the enthusiastic curatorial efforts of Jan Høgh Stricker and Anne Clement and KNTN.

Tonight (7. February, 2014) I’m performing together with Konrad Korabiewski (that’s us in action above) at the noise bunker known as Mayhem, Ragnhildgade 1 Kbh NV. Doors at 20:00, opening acts Hannibal Andersen and David Maranha, though we will be performing second. We’ll be using a multi-channel speaker and radio set up, with various low-fi electronics, cottage-built instruments, and mutually intertwined feedback systems. As analogue as possible.

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Sunday 9. February 2014, 12:00-16:00, Konrad and I will give a workshop, whose title is inspired by the ever-erudite Gregory Whitehead:  An Intricate Game of Position: Critical artistic and phenomenological approaches to sound and radio.  This workshop discusses key paradigms such spatiality and resonance, active listening, transception, and transmission ecology, and includes a listening session and demonstration of basic transmission principles using micro-radio. Participants will also undertake guided activities and improvisational exercises such as soundwalking, and work together to create ‘instant’ performative radio pieces.  Taking place at the YNKB and Astrid Noack’s Atelier here in ydre Nørrebro, Copenhagen.

Earlier in the week, I curated this month’s episode of Københavns Radiobiograf at the Gloria Bio on Tuesday 4. February (where an audience gathers to listen to radio pieces in a darkened cinema). In addition to some old and new pieces of my own (Respire, Pirate Jenny, and Radiotelegraph) I had the pleasure of sharing some of my favourite pieces by others, like Miranda July‘s WSNO, About Time by Yves Daoust, and an excerpt from a.j. cornell‘s Private Telephone 1981. Check them out yourself, and wear some headphones while you listen!

Also gave a lecture on Thursday 6. February at the Hovedbibliothek or main library here in Copenhagen, on the topic of “The Unstable Art of Radio“, which was a brief introduction to creative uses and manipulations of radio and electro-magnetic waves, particularly looking at working with transmitters, manipulating receivers, and some aeriology. Really nice audience, and a great opportunity for me to dig up old crystal set schematics and evidence of DIY tinkering… even as proposed by Quaker Oats:

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City at Night: White Night


friz_white_nightTonight is the opening of my new installation and performance entitled White Night, created within the frame of my City at Night theme during a 2-month residency with KC Tobačna 001 and radioCONA here in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

* Opening at 19:00 at KC Tobačna 001 gallery, Tobačna ulica 1, Ljubljana
* RadioCONA broadcast on 88.8FM begins at 19:16
* Performance in the gallery at 20:00-ish

Later on, Brane Zorman and I do a live set for 2 FM frequencies, using the radioCONA temporary frequency (88.8FM) and the airwaves of Radio Študent (89.3FM) here in Ljubljana. For those of you listening locally, make sure to have 2 radios on at home, one for each station, to hear the full effect!

Here’s a little description of White Night
Radiophonic installation and performance

Since the advent of artificial illumination, the nocturnal urban space is increasingly described by its lighting. The shape and contour of the built environment is outlined by streetlighting, highlighted by mobile car and transport lights, and by lights left blazing in the windows of office towers and store fronts, or recreating daylight over subdivisions, parking lots and sports fields. The stars recede and the sky grows blank from the strength of light pollution, a process accentuated by the typical fog in Ljubljana in winter: no sun, no stars, only diffuse light in a white sky drawn close to the ground.

The ubiquitous infrastructure of the electrical grid powers most nocturnal activity, and its surplus is ticks, static, and hums transmitted by many nodes: buildings, devices, lights, and lines; by damp electrical wires, power stations, connection boxes, irate refrigerators, and ungrounded home entertainment systems alike. Electrical and spectral communication grids overlap and exceed the official city limits, and in these electro-magnetic fields invisible creatures sing on a pale night made indistinct by fog.

Created while in residence at Tobačna 001 and with radioCONA; travel funding gratefully received from the Canada Council for the Arts, Media Art division.
Thank you to Irena Pivka and Vlado G. Repnik.

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City At Night: Ljubljana


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One night train from Berlin to Slovenia later… I’ve arrived in Ljubljana, and moved into to the artist residence at Tobačna 001, a cosy little apartment upstairs in the cultural centre run by the City Museum of Ljubljana on the sprawling grounds of an old tobacco factory. I’ll be here for two months, and working together with the artist-run group CONA (CONA Institute for Contemporary Arts Processing) to make “temporary radio for contemporary art”. A central project for CONA in 2013-2014 is REuse MESTO: REuse RADIO, and my contribution is to explore the potential in nighttime transmissions across urban space, under the title of City at Night:

With the advent of urban illumination and electricity, the city at night is a place of potential: filled with pleasure and danger, subversion, reclamation, and escape. The city at night is described by its transformation from the quotidian arena of day into sites of shadow and ambiguity, where some acts are hidden, while others take place under the scrutiny of precisely circumscribed light. The nocturnal world of radio is a similarly charged space of potential and possibility. Electro-magnetic activity is also the invisible print of the city, with overlapping fields of activity passing through the built environment. Signals converge and the city is imagined and made. 

Many people remember tuning in to radio to hear a free-form overnight program, where the DJ had full choice on what to play, and was released from the strictures of programmed songs and advertisements after hours. Making radio for those not represented by the daily routine, but for those up late, working late, unusually awake–the invisible interaction between terrestrial, live broadcast and the city mostly asleep. Now most radio stations rely on automation over night, rebroadcasting music and talk radio imbued with the mood of day time, not the changeable atmospheres of night. But like the brick and concrete city which is transformed by different practices between day and night, nighttime radio is another kind of urban space to be reclaimed, rethought. What ambiguous relationships, what liminal territories, what reverie might be encountered and engaged after dark?

City at Night seeks to rethink and reframe urban spaces through its nocturnal signals, through incursions across the city after dark, from social spaces to empty places, resulting in live night radio performance, compositions, interventions and an ongoing installation. The gallery space associated with the Tobačna 001 residency will be turned into an open studio with an evolving radio installation, a hub which will function as a radio ‘station’ from which to broadcast and stream overnight from January 16-26 when a licensed city-wide FM frequency is available for use as radioCONA, and a space in which to hold performance or performance/lectures related to the topic of reusing and repurposing nighttime radio and the city.

All broadcasting will take place after dark and overnight, and I am particularly looking forward to programming some long-form and generative works for broadcast which can reflect the liminality of listening, night, and urban activity.

Most immediately, I will be holding a public lecture here next week, December 9, 2013, on the topic of REuse RADIO— an overview of radio and transmission art, my own artistic practices in the electro-magnetic spectrum, and some listening to works. December 10-11, 2013 I convene a working group of local artists emerging and established, so that we can embark on the process of creating transmission works to air or perform or present in January during the broadcast week of radioCONA.

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My travel to Ljubljana is made possible by the Canada Council for the Arts, Media Arts division.

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Sending a Radiotelegraph to the Radius


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For the month of October, I have a new piece up created especially for Radius. I’m halfway through my two month residency at the Skaftfell Center for Visual Art in the small town of Seyðisfjörður on the east coast of Iceland, and the piece involves radiotelegraphy in spoken morse code. Seyðisfjörður is located in a deep fjord off the Atlantic Ocean just shy of the Arctic Circle, and was the site of the first telegraph cable connection between Iceland and Europe in 1906. 1906 was also the year of the first audio transmission of the human voice by wireless means undertaken by Reginald Fessenden on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean at Brant Rock, Massachusetts.

Radiotelegraph is a beacon simulcast by a private low-watt transmitter in Seyðisfjörður (on 107.1 FM) and by Radius Chicago (88.9 FM) at sundown Seyðisfjörður time, for a period of five days in October. The beacon signals the descent of the sun into the northern night. Voice, electronics, and radio signals, all recorded and mixed at Hóll, Seyðisfjörður.

Seyðisfjörður broadcasts (GMT 0):

October 7: 17:59;  October 8: 17:56;  October 9: 17:52;  October 10: 17:48;  October 11: 17:45

Chicago broadcasts (GMT -5):

October 7: 12:59;  October 8: 12:56;  October 9: 12:52;  October 10: 12:48;  October 11: 12:45

 

Radius is an experimental radio broadcast platform based in Chicago Illinois.

 

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Digitale Sinneskulturen des Radios


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I have a site-specific installation up this weekend in Berlin as part of the conference Digitale Sinneskulturen des Radios/Multisensual Radio Culture.

21./22. JUNI 2013
STUDIO P4 | Nalepastraße 18-50 | 12459 Berlin

Studio Time is a new piece which adapts compositional elements from For the time being (2010) and What the cuckoo knows (2013), two recent pieces of mine exploring aspects of radio and timekeeping. This family of works considers the fallibility and musicality of broadcast clocks. Studio Time uses incidences of official time signals (such as UTC broadcast on shortwave radio, the National Research Council time signal heard on Canadian public radio, and clock tower bells heard at noon on Finnish and Dutch radio stations), as well as sounds from domestic analogue striking clocks, particularly cuckoo clocks. The installation was created for the conference on the site of the former studios of the DDR Funkhaus, now a recording studio and venue. The studio is preserved in its original design, and Studio Time occupies four voice-over isolation booths adjacent to a main studio. Each booth has a different part of the piece: two single channel pieces are heard over a mono speaker in each of two booths, a set of headphones plays a stereo piece in the third booth, and a mono radio transmits a composition in the fourth booth.

Thanks to Emmanuel Madan for setting things up for me in absentia. He’s exhibiting an installation exploring mechanical induction and bodily capacitance at the conference as well, entitled Lueurs.

Digitale Sinneskulturen des Radios is presented by Masterstudiengang Online Radio, Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg mit Breitband, Deutschlandradio Kultur und Experimentelles Radio, Bauhaus-Universität Weimar.